What are natural ways to improve seasonal allergies?
Here in Arizona I often see a couple patterns. One, the individual that moved here and all their allergies resolved (win!). Two, someone moved to AZ and developed allergies (what a bummer). Or also, the individual with constant allergies all the time no matter where they are (the struggle is real).
Common symptoms of environmental or seasonal allergies include:
Watery or itchy eyes
Post nasal drip
Ear pain or pressure
Fatigue, feeling unwell
Hives, histamine response
Allergies can be a huge distraction and decrease your quality of life. But, there are many way to help decrease immune reactivity, manage symptoms, and resolve chronic allergies. Here are a couple tips to get you started.
Remove dairy from your diet.
Yes, your beloved cheese, yoghurt, and creamer may be increasing mucus production. There is evidence that when A1 milk is broken down in the human colon it releases proteins that encourage increased mucus production by the MUC5AC glands1. Clinically I see dairy avoidance improve a variety of allergic symptoms.
Easiest way to see if this is right for you is to avoid all sources of dairy for 6 weeks. Check ALL labels and be diligent about avoidance. This experiment best serves you if accompanied by sugar avoidance as well.
Consume or supplement with Vitamin C.
Research has shown vitamin C to be integral in immune response. A review of multiple studies by Wintergerst et al. showed that supplementation with vitamin C and zinc improved outcomes in subjects with respiratory symptoms associated with the common cold2. Vitamin C has mast cell stabilizing properties as well which reduce allergic response and has also been shown to reduce inflammatory response3. Allergic symptoms are a consequence of inflammatory pathways in the body, reducing this improves overall symptoms.
Common recommendations include 1-4 grams of Vitamin C in divided doses.
Supplement with Quercetin.
Quercetin is a natural structure, known as a dietary flavonoid, that has wide-reaching effects on the immune system. It is commonly found in plants like onion, broccoli, peppers, cherries, and cranberries4. Quercetin has been shown to help reduce histamine release from mast cells which helps reduce your allergic symptoms of runny nose, itchy eyes, rashes, etc5.
Therapeutic dosages of quercetin range between 1,000-2500mg.
Drink Nettle leaf tea.
Nettle leaf has long been used to help with a variety of allergies, from seasonal allergies to the immune reaction seen in contact dermatitis of the skin6. Research suggests that nettle leaf acts to inhibit histamine receptor 1 response and also prevent mast cell degranulation7. This suggests its mechanism of action for reducing allergic response.
Nettle leaf can be used in a variety of ways, both in dry herb form commonly found in capsules. It’s also made into a strong tea and drunk throughout the day. For best effects steep 1 tsp per 1 cup of herb for 10 minutes, strain herb well and drink 3 cups per day in divided doses.